After a four-year-long bitter court battle that began in September 2011, Bianca Rinehart, with the help of her brother John Hancock, have won control over the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust.
The fund is estimated to be worth $4bn US ($5bn Aus), and holds about 24% shareholding of Hancock Prospecting. Hancock Prospecting is a mining company founded by Gina Rinehart’s father, Lang Hancock. Lang Hancock has been recognized for discovering much of the iron-ore in the Pilbara mining region, which makes up one-half of the world’s iron-ore traded at sea.
John and Bianca Rinehart began the court battle over the trust fund money years prior, due to discovery of, “alleged misconduct in agreeing to amendments to the constitution of Hancock Prospecting which affected the administration of the trust fund,” by his mother, Gina Rinehart. Gina had changed the date shortly before her daughter, Ginia Rinehart, turned 25 – right before she was about to inherit the fortune. Gina had changed the vesting date to 2068 apparently to rid her children of the capital gains taxes they would have to pay once they benefited from the money. While the courts exonerated her of these charges, she did step down from the position as a result of all of the bad publicity. So, a replacement was required.
The courts ruled that Bianca would be the best fit for the role, and was appointed trustee of the fund. In a statement, Bianca said, “I am pleased that as a result of this judgment, the trust he (grandfather Lang Hancock) set up will now be able to be managed in the best interests of its beneficiaries – my sisters, my brother and myself.” Bianca hopes to “restore family harmony” with her newly appointed role.
Hope Welker, Gina Rinehart’s daughter and John and Bianca’s sibling allegedly was part of the dispute as well, but removed herself from the proceedings due to the distress the situation was causing her. This was due to an “outrageous” e-mail that was sent to her from Senator Barnaby Joyce. Surprisingly, Ginia Rinehart has sided with her mother.
Image from The Wall Street Journal.